The preventive maintenance of Nord Stream has collapsed gas storage capacity in Germany and Austria. It has fallen by more than three times and is below the volumes Gazprom takes from German and Austrian storage facilities to somehow smooth out the suspension of the pipeline’s capacity of more than 160 million cubic meters per day.
Since July 13, when Nord Stream was put on maintenance for 10 days, German and Austrian storage capacity has been tripled and quadrupled. According to GIE, the daily volume dropped to 25 million cubic meters and 7 million cubic meters on July 14. Before that, in June and early July, the average pumping level in Germany was 81 million cubic meters, and in Austria – 28 million cubic meters.
At the same time, withdrawal of natural gas from the storage facilities of the two countries increased above the level of injection. “Gazprom is drawing its reserves from the Haidach and Rehden natural gas storage facilities to compensate for the fallout from Nord Stream. On July 14, Germany and Austria took 27 and 9.6 million cubic meters from the storage facilities, and most of it was from the Russian company’s reserves.
Gazprom followed a similar pattern during the three-day Yamal-Europe pipeline over Poland in the first decade of July. Its capacity, however, is half that of Nord Stream, more than 80 million cubic meters per day, and now the stoppage of one of the routes of Russian gas supply is the most acute.
Meanwhile, gas reserves in German and Austrian storage facilities are at near-record lows. Three and a half months before the start of the heating season they are 54 percent and 32 percent full.
Germany and Austria are large consumers of Russian gas. Gazprom said the company is fulfilling all its contractual obligations and promises additional volumes after the launch of Nord Stream 2.
Yesterday, the company said it was disappointed by an EU court ruling that upheld a capacity restriction on the onshore section of Nord Stream in Germany, the Opal pipeline.
“This really speaks to Russia’s gas paradox in Europe. On the one hand, Europe demands more gas at high prices and low reserves. On the other, too much Russian gas will lead to market dominance. It’s hard to find a middle ground,” Ira Joseph, head of gas and energy at S&P Global Platts, wrote on Twitter.